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1.1 Geography and population

Mongolia is a very large country with a relatively small population. It faces many difficulties and challenges in the painful changes of transition from a long-term planned economy to a market orientated one. Situated in the center of the Asian land mass Mongolia lies between the Inner Mongolian provinces of China in the south and the Asian part of Russia in the north, Mongolia covers 1.56 million square kilometres, with an ethnically mixed population at 2.533.100 people with 49.6 percent living in rural areas, of which about 31% are children below 15 years of age. Except for the million or so people who live in or near the capital Ulaanbaatar, the country’s population is sparsely distributed across the vast Mongolian steppes in nomadic herding communities that are constantly on the move across the vast plains to find new grazing pastures for their sheep and cattle that form the mainstay of the food and of economy of Mongolia. The country stretches for about 2500 kilometres from east to west at its longest and about 1000 kilometres from north to south at its widest. The Gobi desert covers about a third of the country, and lies to the south along the long border with the People’s Republic of China. Mongolia is divided into 18 aimags or provinces and 4 independent municipalities (such as the capital city of Ulaanbaatar) that are also sometimes called aimags like the larger provinces. Each aimag is divided into sums. The capital city of Ulaanbaatar has a population of about 870,000; the other 1.6 million people are distributed in the other 18 provinces, with some provinces having less than 100,000 people. The average life expectancy in Mongolia on 2004 year was 64.58 years. The main religious is Buddhism (80% of population), followed by Islam (10%), Christianity (4.7%), and other religions (5.3%).

1.2 Current situation of alcohol consumption

1.2.1 World situation of alcohol consumption and alcohol related harms
The misuse of alcohol represents one of the leading causes of preventable death, illness and injury in many societies throughout the world. However, with the rapid development of economy, urbanization and westernization, alcohol production, consumption, and numbers of admitted patients with alcohol-related physical and mental diseases have increased steadily over the past 25 years (Hao et al., 2003). Alcohol consumption is associated with a variety of adverse health and social consequences. Adverse effects of alcohol have been demonstrated for many disorders, including liver cirrhosis, mental illness, several types of cancer, pancreatitis, and damage to the fetus among pregnant women. Alcohol use is also strongly related to social consequences such as drink driving injuries and fatalities, aggressive behaviour, family disruptions and reduced industrial productivity (WHO, Int. Guide…, 2002). Murray and Lopez (1996) estimated that globally in 1990 alcohol contributed to 773,600 deaths, 19.3 million years of life lost and 47.7 million disability adjusted life years. Some 82% of this burden of death, illness and injury falls on regions of the world classified as “developing” (Murray et al., 1997). Asian areas other than China and India (OAI) (e.g. Indonesia, Vietnam) also indicated higher than average levels of death caused by alcohol (1.8%) (WHO, Int. Guide…, 2002).

Adult per capita consumption data are very useful as an indicator of trends in alcoholrelated problems. Of international sources, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provide the most reliable data. Studies done primarily in developed countries have found that per capita consumption is a reliable proxy for the percentage of heavy drinkers in a population, in the absence of national survey data (Edwards et al., 1994). Per capita alcohol consumption in pure alcohol for adults is an essential predictor of alcohol related problems, based on WHO data, the growth rate of per capita alcohol consumption was 402% from 1970 to 1996 (WHO, 1999). The figure for average annual alcohol consumption was still low compared with that of the developed countries (WHO, 1999), which was about 10.01 yearly. For example, the recorded per capita consumption of pure alcohol per adult 15 years of age and over in 1996 was 11.90 liters in Austria, 11.67 liters in Germany, 11.27 liters in Switzerland, 9.62 liters in Italy, 9.55 liters in Australia, 9.41 liters in the UK and 8.90 liters in the US. The current global trends on alcohol use were that per capita alcohol consumption in developed countries was decreasing sharply, and increasing steadily in developing countries. In the countries of the Soviet Union and in many developing countries, alcohol production for home use or for the informed sector is extremely important, being as high as 80% of the total alcohol available for consumption. Per capita consumption figures should be developed for the major categories of alcoholic beverages available within a country. Most international sources limit these to beer, distilled spirits and wine. Ethanol conversion factors differ by country but generally are about 4-5% for beer, about 12 percent for wine and about 40 percent for distilled spirits. Common alcohol conversion factors: 1 ml ethanol = 0.79 g. The most commonly used measure of High Risk drinking for acute problems is the volume of consumption (WHO, Int. Guide…, 2002).


2006-03-31 22:54:42 1489 Print

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